This is my Body and I Love it for You

I lay on the couch on yet another snow day morning, another day stuck home with the children. At this point in time, I had lost count at how many days we had been home and had long stopped caring if the children ate, slept, pooped or wore clothes.

I couldn’t have told you when I last showered or even if my underwear was clean. Putting on a bra or real pants seemed like an impossible task for you see, we were snowed in but there was also the plague making it’s way through the house.

Snot was flowing and puke was spilling. This is the stuff that makes day drinking happen.  It was so bad, I knew the inevitable should happen… I had to clean the house.

But later.

I adjusted my position on the couch, turning more on my side and as I scooted my shirt pulled up revealing my stomach. I was playing on my phone, it didn’t matter to me.

She came out of no where as she often does when I’m laying down. It’s funny she never wanted to cuddle as a baby, always wanted out of my arms, miss independent so similar to me. But as the years have past, she never misses an opportunity to crawl on top of me and nestle her head just under my chin.

mother and daughter

She seems to need to be close, breath me in.

I never push her away even when she decides to cuddle at the most inconvenient times like during ‘wrestling’ between me and her father but that’s what happens when we forget to lock the door.

She crawled on top of me, sticking her bony child knee in my groin causing me to scream.

“Sorry mommy,” she said with a giggle but not stopping on her way up.

She lay her head down, I wrapped my arm around her and I could feel her relax. I continued reading on my phone and she began to trace the lines of my shirt.

She traced the scoop neck of my tank top and with a hint of mischief, let her finger slide over my breasting knowing that she shouldn’t touch it because breasts are one of those special parts no one gets to touch (at least for now, I’ll talk to her about ‘2nd base’ when she’s older).

Her finger reached my exposed belly, “Mommy, your shirt is too small. I can see your belly.”

My normal reaction would be to quickly pull down my shirt, covering a part of me that I’m not the most proud of, that’s not ‘perfect’ and don’t want people to see. My body would tense and cringe. I would usually swat her hand away as she tried to touch it, telling her no. But this time, this time I decided to just let her touch.

I decided the message was to important.

I want to raise a strong and confident daughter. I want her to know she’s beautiful because she is. I want her to embrace her imperfection and know that she is perfect because she is who she is and there is no such thing as the perfect body. I watch her watch me as I look in the mirror and do my makeup. She questions why I wear it, what I like about it. She watches me dress and stress over clothes that will hide those areas I don’t like. She hears me say things like, “Ugh this makes me fat.”

She sees my insecurities…. I need to let her see my confidence too.

My body is beautiful. It’s healthy. It’s strong. It’s sexy. It’s done amazing things; pushed on another’s chest to make blood pump when their heart had stopped, turned on a man I’ve known and been with for more than 17 years and most importantly, my body has given life to 4 children, 3 of whom lived inside me all at once.

I want her to know that I am proud of this body of mine and I have earned every scar, freckle, wrinkle and stretch mark. Well, some I earned and some were just given.

She traced the stretch marks on my stomach, buried her finger deep in my belly button and poked my stomach to watch the squish wiggle. I didn’t say a word, just watched her, let her see I wasn’t ashamed.

Her hand went flat and she placed it on my stomach then laid her head on my chest.

“My momma,” she said. “…pretty and squishy.”

I kissed the top of her head and held her close. She stayed a few more seconds and just like that she was gone but I can only hope the message, though it will need re-enforcing, will always stay with her.

 

 

Crying over Sippy Cups

There is a drawer in my kitchen that holds nothing but sippy cups.

It used to be completely full with cups trying to make an escape when the drawer was opened but now there is only a handful left. That is because somewhere in the house, van or back yard there lies partially filled cups with old fermenting apple juice and chocolate milk cheese.

sippy cups

I don’t know exactly where these sippy cups go to but I do know that I will never see them again. They have gone the way of the missing socks from the dryer and that one flip flop that has been missing for about a year.

There is a part of me that wants to refill that drawer, go on a sippy cup shopping spree… get that drawer so full that we can’t close it.

But that isn’t right.

The truth is, there really shouldn’t be sippy cups in our house.

The kids have long out grown the need for them. They are totally capable of drinking out of a regular cup and have been for sometime. In fact, when they are home with their dad while I am working, the sippy cups don’t really make an appearance.

They are still around because of me. I am the one who just can’t part with those danm cups.

I just don’t think I could bare to pull open that drawer and not see sippy cups in there. The kitchen would sound so quiet without the rolling and rattling of those cups in that drawer. Some of those cups we have had since the days when Hayden was a baby. In fact, I still have and use the very first sippy cup, I bought for him.

Those sippy cups are the last remnants and reminders of the past. They are the last of the baby thing in the house (expect for the random pacifier I found in the back of the bathroom cupboard last week).  Long ago, we purged all the baby bottles, cribs, bedding and clothes. All the baby proofing, electrical coverings and safety gates are gone, in fact our house could be considered quiet hazardous to a baby.

There is not a thing about our house that looks like there used to be babies here beside those sippy cups.

Truth be told, the sippy cups annoy me. I hate the search that needs to be done to find them because God forbid, the kids remember where they set them. I hate taking the plastic inserts out to clean them. I hate opening one only to be hit with the horrid smell of rotten milk making me want to vomit.

I really don’t like those cups but I can’t bare to get rid of them. The kids don’t need those cups and honestly, look a bit silly drinking from them.

It’s just that, I love to see them drinking from them. It reminds me of when they were small, when they could still fit in my lap without arms and legs and other body parts spilling all over. It reminds me of when I used to be able to pick them up with ease where now I have to grunt and end up saying, “Oh my back” afterwards.

But it’s time. It’s time to say good bye to the past.

toddler triplets with sippy cups

Jake, Quinn and Claire turned 6 this past week. It’s a big deal going from 5 to 6. That means they are leaving all the things preschool and kindergarten behind. They are now grade schoolers… 1st graders.

So in the next few days, maybe weeks, I will get rid of those sippy cups. I might save one or four. I will probably shed a tear as I put them all in the bin to be recycled.

It has to be done. I’ve known this for a while.

And I will do it but only after I cover the entire house in plastic because even though they are getting older, they are still my children which means spilling is in their genes.

I Don’t Understand Kindergarten Humor

The other night, I had dinner with three 5 year olds.

The other adult and older child were gone.

It was just me and the 5 year olds.

The following is a reenactment of the conversation that took place.

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*end scene*

And that’s pretty much how the whole dinner conversation went.

I still don’t get it.

Keeping it all Straight

“Momma, is my field trip today?” Quinn asked one morning, “Because then I need a lunch.”

I just looked at Quinn as a slight panic crept up in my chest. Field trip?! Was is today?

“Mom, I fthink I need to bring tomatoes to my class today because my class planted lettuce seeds yesterday and we are going to make salad with them and I need to bring tomatoes for our salad.” Jake added.

I turned my attention to Jake and processed what he said.

“Um… Jake,” I began, “I’m thinking that you don’t need to take tomatoes in yet. It’s gonna take more than a day for your lettuce seeds to grow and be ready to eat.”

“Oh,” he said and then added, “But don’t forget.”

I shook my head, they know me so well. Forgetting things happens to be my middle name… Wait, is that my middle name? I’m not so sure, I kinda forgot.

Sometimes, I feel like my life is working against me and just doesn’t want me to remember things. There are four children that live in this house and each one of those children have classrooms and teachers and projects and field trips and after school activities that need to be kept track of.

Add Jeff’s schedule and mine and I feel like I need to hire a personal assistant just to make sure I leave the house with my bra on under my shirt and the children in the car and not the cats.

When school started back in the fall, I knew that it would be challenging to keep every things straight. We decided that Jake, Quinn and Claire needed to be in separate kindergarten classes.  Jeff and I felt this was important because we wanted them to be thought of as the individual people they are and as ‘the triplets’.

This is awesome for them because they get their own teachers, their own friends and they can take pride in themselves as their own person but it is hell on me.

I am one mom with four classrooms to keep track of. And of course, no one can ever do anything on the same day.

Cue my magic erase calendar.

When school started, I knew that I would need something to help me keep track of who has gym on Wednesday, who needs to bring back their library book on Tuesday, when carnival ticket money is due, when school is having spirit week and what the kids need to wear, when popcorn day is and what kid is going on a field trip when.

I had plans to color code each child like we did when they are babies so at a glance I knew who was doing what when but I forgot. Maybe next year.

But this system, as brilliant as it seems, does have a flaw in it… Me.

Do you see what I mean?

messed up calendar

Here, I’ll help. See what I mean?!

messed up calendar 2

Yup, I have to write the days of the month in on the calendar. That means I have to remember my numbers and what order they go in which for me is apparently almost as difficult as spelling words correctly.

The calendar was like that for about two weeks before I noticed the mistake. And I wish it was a logical mistake… I mean, 18 to 20? Numbers don’t go in the order.

So as the year has progressed, I’ve moved to a different method of keeping track of things. I put reminder alerts in my phone. Which works when I remember to put in the reminder.

“No, Quinn your field trip is not until next week and I know that you need a lunch,” I answered him.

“Are you sure, momma?” he said back to me, “Did you ask your phone?”

Perhaps a Pinterest Win?

In my bathroom, there are two drawers full of empty toilet paper rolls.

toilet paper rolls for Pinterest craft

Why?

Each time my husband changes the roll instead of me, I wanted to save it to commemorate the occasion. It’s something that happens so rarely that I celebrate each time.

No, I’m kidding. My husband doesn’t change out the toilet paper roll that often.

The reason that there are two drawers full of empty toilet paper rolls is because I saw something on Pinertest that I wanted to make. It was a this wreath made by flattening toilet paper rolls, cutting them and gluing them together is a wreath-like shape. Or something like that. I’m not really sure.

You see, I don’t craft. I tried to read the instructions but for all I understood, I was learning how to program a blender. I don’t even own a glue gun. Well, I didn’t until my mom gave me one for Christmas and now that’s become Hayden’s glue gun because he uses it more than I do. The boy likes to hot glue things.

I guess you could just call this one big Pinterest fail.

But that’s how it is with Pinterest, you win some, you loose some and in the end we all just sit around the camp fire and sing “Kumbaya” and roasting marshmallows.

Recently, I kinda had a win because of Pinterest.

Jake and Claire can be the best of friends and the worst of enemies. And they switch between the two faster than a cheetah chasing a gazelle.

I understand that siblings will fight and disagree. I know that siblings have a special way of pushing each other’s buttons. It’s just that when Jake and Claire always tend to do it at the worst possible times like during the chaos of me getting dinner ready and trying to help Hayden with homework. They get into these yelling matches where basically they have forgotten about words and just stand there screaming in each other’s faces.

“ALRIGHT!” I yelled over their screaming. “Both of you to your rooms.”

Suddenly both Jake and Claire erupt in tears because apparently, being sent to their bedrooms which I might add, house tons of toys and books is the worst possible thing that could do to them. From the way they were crying, loosing an arm couldn’t match the injustice.

“But momma,” they both whimper.

“Go!” I said again, pointing to the stairs.

“Jake, get out of my way,” Claire said as she tries to be first.

“Claire, I was here first,” Jake retaliates.

“Jake!” Claire screamed.

“Claire!” Jake yells back.

“Oh. My. Goodness…. QUIET!” I yelled. “Do you both realize you are fighting on your way to your punishment for fighting?!”

They both just look at me. I knew they didn’t understand but at the moment I didn’t care. My head was throbbing and pasta water was boiling over.

“You two need to spot fighting. Your fighting is out of control. This needs to stop and if it doesn’t…” I say, then stop because I remember something that I saw on Pinterest, “Then I am going to make your wear a ‘get along shirt‘.

“What’s that?” Jake asks while Claire stands next to him.

“It’s a big shirt that you both wear together until you can learn to get along with each other,” I say, making it sound like the most horrible shirt in the world.

They both just stand there, eyes as wide as saucers.

“Now, to your rooms, both of you. Think about what I said. Think about not fighting with each other so much and getting along. You don’t want me to get out that shirt.” I said.

I hear their doors close and set a timer for five minutes then continue with dinner. When the timer beeps, I call upstairs, “You can get out now.”

Both Jake and Claire bound downstairs.

“Claire, you can have my Bey Blade if you want,” Jake says.

“Oh that’s ok, Jake. You can have my stuffed doggie.” Claire answers back.

As I stir the pasta, I smile to myself. “Holy crap! I can’t believe that worked.”

That’s what I call a Pinterest win!

Bath Time

Bathing children in our house has always been a bit challenging, well maybe not really challenging but more on the interesting side.

When the triplets were little, we just put them all in the same tub together. The bathroom got soaked but that meant the floor was cleaned and mopped every other day and the kids had a great time. It was assembly line style, in out and done.

In the summer, bathing is easy. If the kids have been swimming, I called that a bath and if they haven’t… it’s running through the sprinkler in only your undies and sometimes we’d even get the soap out.

Man, I miss summer.

But in these colder months, we have to bathe inside. That’s not the problem since we do have indoor plumbing and all, the problem is that my children are of different genders. The majority being boys.

Boys like to be naked. They like to show off their naked and bath time is the perfect time for this to happen.

Also boys and modesty don’t go hand in hand. What goes hand in hand with a boy and bath time is touching their junk. If I had a nickle for every time I had to tell some boy in this house to stop ‘tickling their pickle’, I would be a very rich woman.

Since the boys were babies they have always had this want to play with their ‘man member’. Take that diaper off and the hand goes straight for it. It’s like a new toy.

But as the kids have gotten older they are becoming more aware of not only their own bodies and those bodies around them. That means it’s time to teach them about privacy and I get to say a whole new thing, “We don’t touch our brother’s penis!” at bath time.

This also means its time for girls and boys to have separate bathes.

Also, it should be noted that the triplets really didn’t fit in the tub all together anymore.  They were squished in there tighter than sardines in a can.

So Claire has a bath by herself, Hayden takes a shower and Jake and Quinn take a bath together.

Someday, I hope all the kids will shower because it’s just easier but right now if you put a triplet in the shower they scream bloody murder and claim the water hurts them  like nails being spit at them. Oh the drama!

But with this separation of girl and boy siblings, ultimately giving the boys more room in the tub, something has happened that I did not expect.

The touching of the ‘man meat’ had increased to the point where I wonder if it might fall off. I mean, I get the whole self exploration. I get that it feels good and that’s why they do it. It’s only natural and a part of growing up. It’s just that I don’t want to see if every time I walk into the bathroom.

I am seriously thinking of teaching them the old ‘sock on the doorknob’ trick that college kids use. At least then, I would know to come back later.

Other wise I walk into the bathroom to help them wash their hair and one of the boys tell me, “Mom, I’m just trying to make my penis fart.”

Then I have to say, “Um, I’m not sure it’s supposed to do that.”

To which the boy will answer, “Yes, it can, see watch.”

And then I get very confused… very, very confused and leave the room feeling uncomfortable.

Yeah, I can’t wait until we can just go back to using  the sprinkler for bath time.

Me and the Other Triplet Mom

We had some time to kill between the movie ending and when we were suppose to meet Daddy for dinner so I took the kids to the mall play area.

There was a time when we were regulars here during the cold months of the winter. It was a place that I could take the kids and let them run off some of their seemingly endless energy. Now that is what school does.

The kids hesitated by the ‘you much be under this height to play here’ sign as if to ask, “Really, mom? Can we?”

I pushed them all in saying, “Go. Go. Go.” like a captain pushing sky divers off a plane and then added, “You might want to duck” as a couple of them almost got clocked in the head by the sign as they ran in. Perhaps they were a little tall, oh well.

I walked over to the familiar bench and then took out my phone. As I was about to get sucked into Twitter, I noticed many of the parents kind of looking concerned that I had brought in bigger kids to this play area that was manly filled with toddlers.

Not wanting to look like I wasn’t doing my parenting duty, I called my kids over to me.

“Guys, listen” I said, “There are some very little kids in here. I want you to be very careful of them and use your eyes when you are running around. If you knock over a little one, I will knock you over then sit on you.”

I didn’t really mean the last part and said it to make my kids laugh. They all nodded at me and then went on their running away. I really wasn’t too worried that my kids would not be careful. They are daycare kids and are pretty used to watching out for the little ones so I sat back down and turned by attention to my phone.

I would look up every few minutes as my phone was loading a new page to do a head count, an old habit, and make sure all was well in the play area.

It was during one of these ‘head count’ moments that I saw her.

She parked a triplet stroller by the entrance to the play area, grabbed a diaper bag busting at the seams and ushered in three small toddlers. Her kids were young, barely walking, waddling actually. She walked over to a not so crowded area and sat down on the floor. Her little toddlers ventured away from her a bit but mostly preferred to climb on their favorite jungle gym… mommy.

As she sat, I could help but stare. I knew she knew that I was staring at her. I knew she didn’t like it but I couldn’t help it. And if I had had the chance to tell her why, this is what I could have said.

I stare because I know. I am one of the very few who actually has empathy for what you are going through.

I stare because I remember. I remember dragging three toddlers to the play area with the diaper bag bursting at the seams with cups, snacks, diapers and toys for three.

I stare because I know. I know that ‘stay away from me, don’t talk to me’  vibe you are sending out to others around you. It’s that you are mean and hate people, it’s just so hard to make small talk and watch three toddlers at once.

I stare because I remember. I remember needing to get out of the house so badly that the work and stress of doing so didn’t matter.

I stare because I know. I know the questions that strangers ask you; Are the all yours? Are the natural? Are they triplet’s? Did you have sex three times in one night to get them? Trust me, I’ve heard all.

I stare because I remember. I remember those three toddlers climbing all over you and you just wishing they would play and leave you alone for a minute. Just one minute of someone not touching you.

I stare because I know. I know the panic when they all three decided to go in three different directions.

I stare because I remember. I remember it all and for that I am in awe. Awe, that I survived and you will too. I know people say having triplets makes you are ‘super mom’ but I know you don’t feel that way… neither do I. All moms are super moms whether you have three at once, three one at a time, a bunch of kids or just one.

As my kids came to me and lined up to get their shoes on all talking to me at once like they do,  my gaze caught hers and I watched her look to my kids. I watched her soften when she realized that I too was a triplet mom.

I smiled at her, hoping to convey that is possible, they do grow and it does get a little easier.

She smiled back and I walked out of the play area feeling all warm and fuzzy. I had spread a little mommy support to a fellow triplet mom.

It was then I heard a crash and a splash. I looked over and saw my son standing in a very large pool of water because my other children had knocked over a water station in a fight about who got to get a cup of water first.

The fellow triplet mom watched, I could feel her eyes, along with others,  on me and I did the only thing I could do because kids, triplets or not, will be kids.

I sighed,  I rolled my eyes, hook my head and said, “Any one got a towel?”